Lest we blame delayed emergency response times entirely on the city's erratic 911 system, know that sometimes, it's not technology's fault: It's the corpses that EMTs are forced to hang out with, sometimes for hours, that are responsible for holding them up.
According to the Daily News, EMTs are required to stay on the scene with "deceased patients"—even those dead of natural causes—until the NYPD arrives. This can sometimes take hours. “It’s more common than you think,” one EMS worker told the tabloid. “We can’t leave a patient alone, even a dead one, no matter how much other emergency calls back up.”
In one instance on July 17, EMS workers sat with the body of a deceased 75-year-old man for four hours before the cops arrived. Another incident on the same day kept workers waiting with the body of a 100-year-old Queens woman for three hours. As a result, emergency responders were forced to forgo other calls while shootin' the breeze with a body that certainly wasn't getting any more alive.
As for the NYPD, a spokesperson told the News that all precincts were just "extremely busy with many higher priority assignments during those time periods." Were they learning to man the 911 call center, thus creating the world's most lethal feedback loop of inefficiency?